House vote on Federal Marriage Amendment expected
September 18 2004 12:00 AM ET
Congressional Republicans are pushing for a vote on a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage prior to the presidential election to remind the public how the GOP and Democrats differ. House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has promised a vote this month on the measure, which President Bush endorses, even though the proposal failed to pass even on a procedural vote last July in the Senate. Constitutional amendments require two-thirds majorities, or 67 votes in the Senate and 290 votes in the House. In July the House passed a bill to prevent federal courts from ordering states to recognize same-sex unions sanctioned elsewhere. That vote was 233-194, well short of what's needed to pass a constitutional amendment on the subject.
"It seems that my Republican colleagues have lost sight of our priorities," said Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat. "We are a nation at war. The death toll of our men and women fighting for our right to be free from terror has reached record limits and continues to rise every single day. Why then is something so arbitrary and so unnecessary at the top of our list of things to do?" Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, do not think the Constitution should be amended to add the ban. Kerry missed the Senate vote on the gay marriage amendment but said he was against it.